Kyle on the Red Pill
A short story that ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe
Morpheus, the bald leader of a cyber-punk cult which has before targeted you as a convert, walks into your bar. Well, the bar you hang out at—usually with friends, but you’re alone tonight. He motions to the bartender, then orders a drink. He walks over to you and begins blabbing about late stage body imprisonment.
It’s already late, and it seems he's just getting started. He’s going on about “keeping up with the Smiths”, and avoiding these ill-mannered 'puters which mine human bile. You call over the bartender and tell her you're ready to close out. You check your phone. Morpheus goes quiet, then places his open hand with several vibrant pills over top of your screen. He’s being a little intense. You want to appear gracious, so you don’t scrutinize them as you usually do. You take one. The conversation carries on, you nod him along as his story gets more convoluted. He orders a round of drinks. Several times he mentions, “there is no turning back.”
Some of the details feel exaggerated, if not made up, but you enjoy listening to him speak. Your eyes jump between his lips and his perched nostril sunglasses as he talks—you feel agreeable, feel a certain attraction to his rhetoric. The bar closes and the two of you spill out into the street. You head to a bar he recommends not far from there.
Several hours later you decide to call it a night and head to the subway. It’s warm and the air is still. The conversation slows as you near the station. He motions you off the sidewalk and onto the grass of a park. From his long leather trench coat he produces a tall bottle of pinot noir, a sliver of gruyere, and two paper cups.
He pours you a cup, then offers a toast, “To newfound friendship! Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony."
You laugh, then drink. He smiles and says “I told you I would show you how deep the rabbit hole goes!”
You ask, “oh, so I took the red pill?”
“Dude, that was E.”
“Oh, I guess I should have known,” you say, now understanding the sensation a little better. Your heart rate does feel elevated. “Is it cut with anything?”
“Pure MDMA, bitch! You think I’d push some unspecified tripper trail mix onto a friend?”
You feel relieved. You take a sip from your glass, and notice your chest is shivering. You fold your arms, then say, “do you ever have a feeling that you can’t explain, but you’ve felt your entire life?”
Morpheus smirks, then takes a large bite out of the side of the cheese sliver. It doesn’t seem he’s going to offer you any. Behind him, a dog on a leash barks at a group of sleeping ducks.
“So I took the blue pill, then?’ you ask.
Morpheus pulls his glasses down from their perch, then rubs each eye with the back of his hand. He sighs, “I don’t know, man, this ain’t some tautology.”